CSV trustees meet every two months. What usually happens is that the meeting begins with a member of staff giving us a presentation on a particular aspect of the charity's work.
We then have a question and answer session to ensure that we're informed about what is happening on the ground.
However, the trustees are also encouraged to go and see projects for themselves. As part of my induction as a trustee, I went to Sunderland with two other board members. We stayed overnight and went to visit three different projects. We then reported back to the rest of the board about what we had seen. I think this kind of exercise is really useful - unless you're there, talking to people involved in the project, you won't really get to see the full picture.
The CSV staff in Sunderland were really pleased we came. In some cases, boards of trustees can be viewed as detached - the staff really appreciated the fact that we came and saw what they were doing. Because CSV is involved in so many projects, I think it's important that the trustees find out about most of them. In the end, you're supposed to represent the organisation.
CSV has definitely tried to make sure that the trustees are involved.
There's another trip, similar to my induction visit, coming up in May.
We are also invited to events such as the CSV's Year of the Volunteer Awards.
The other interesting thing about the way we work is that there's a development board. This is an advisory board made up of young professionals, which people can join before becoming fully-fledged trustees, contributing in a less frequent advisory capacity. If the charity is looking at building work, for example, young professionals with planning expertise would be invited along to give information. This is done with a view to some members being asked to become trustees, if they are suitable.